Learn About Motorcycle Laws
When reckless drivers violate road rules, motorcycle accidents all too frequently happen. Unlike the occupants of cars and trucks, riders are at a significant disadvantage. They do not have an outer metal shell surrounding them at the time of impact. Consequently, they suffer direct exposure to their surrounding environment when crashes occur. If they fall to the ground, the chances are good that they will suffer a severe injury.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that resulted from another driver or someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer by your side as soon as possible. Your lawyer can investigate the accident and determine who or what caused it. Once the investigation is complete, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the responsible party and pursue the monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries.
What Are Road Rule Violations and Other Negligent Acts that Cause Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents frequently occur when drivers violate the rules of the road. The primary purpose of road rules is to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. However, many drivers are in a hurry to get to their final destination and choose not to operate their vehicles safely or carefully.
Some of the most common road rule violations that lead to motorcycle crashes include:
- Speeding – When drivers violate the posted speed limit, they are more likely to strike another vehicle, including a motorcycle. Moreover, a speeding driver might be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid a crash, especially in slippery or icy weather conditions.
- Tailgating – When drivers follow riders too closely, they may be unable to stop in time if traffic slows down suddenly. Since cars and trucks are many times larger and heavier than motorcycles, even a slight tap in the rear can dislodge a rider from their vehicle, causing them to strike the ground and sustain serious injuries.
- Aggressive driving – Motorcycle accidents also happen when drivers operate their vehicles aggressively due to road rage or other causes. They might weave in and out of multi-lane highway traffic and fail to use their turn signals at the appropriate times. Consequently, they might cut off an approaching rider in heavy traffic or run the rider entirely off the road, resulting in severe injuries for the rider.
- Drunk driving – Many motorcycle crashes result from drunk or impaired driving. A driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is legally intoxicated. However, some drivers experience the negative effects of impaired driving even when they have a lower BAC. An impaired driver might not see straight or operate their vehicle safely. They can also cause their vehicle to veer over into another travel lane, striking a motorcycle. Similarly, intoxicated drivers often have trouble stopping their cars, bringing about a collision with a motorcycle or other vehicle.
- Distracted driving – Drivers must drive their vehicles safely and carefully, free of distractions. When they allow loud music, vehicle passengers, and cellular devices to distract them while operating their vehicle, they might not see a motorcyclist approaching.
- Failing to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate times—Car and truck operators have to yield the right-of-way to riders at the right times, including at traffic intersections. In many instances, drivers run stop signs or try to get through a traffic light before it turns red. If they do not yield the right-of-way to a rider operating their vehicle on an adjacent roadway, they can cause a severe collision.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident that resulted from another driver’s road rule violation, a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer can help. After investigating the circumstances of your accident, your lawyer can file a claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf and, if necessary, litigate it to an efficient conclusion. Your lawyer will work hard to help you recover maximum compensation for your accident-related injuries.
Other Causes of Motorcycle Crashes Besides Road Rule Violations
Road rule violations are not the only cause of motorcycle accidents. In fact, these collisions sometimes happen when the rider and other drivers all operate their vehicles safely. Sometimes, motorcycle crashes result from road defects, such as deep cracks and potholes.
Provinces, cities, counties, and other municipalities must keep roads in their jurisdictions safe. When severe defects exist on these roadways, they are responsible for making the necessary repairs within a reasonable period. When a rider hits uneven pavement or concrete, it might cause their motorcycle to flip over, resulting in serious injuries or a fatality. When a motorcycle accident results from a roadway defect, the accident victim can bring a claim or file a lawsuit against the appropriate municipality.
If the accident resulted in a fatality, then the deceased rider’s estate can pursue a wrongful death claim against the municipality for damages.
Defective roadways are not the only cause of serious motorcycle crashes. These accidents sometimes happen when motorcycle parts, such as handlebars, steering mechanisms, and braking systems, are defective. When the accident victim can demonstrate that their motorcycle crash occurred because of a defective motorcycle part, they can bring a claim against the product manufacturer.
Motorcycle part manufacturers and distributors must properly design and test their products before making them available for purchase. When a manufacturer violates this duty and an accident results, they can be liable to the injured accident victim for damages.
What are Some Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
When a rider falls to the ground or onto another vehicle in an accident, they can suffer serious injuries, many of which may become permanent. Permanent motorcycle accident injuries can result in pain and symptoms for the remainder of the accident victim’s life. They may also need to undergo extensive medical treatment for those injuries.
The injuries that a motorcycle crash victim will suffer typically depend upon the type of accident that happens—and how it occurred. Some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries include bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, traumatic head and brain injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis injuries, and internal organ damage.
The most important thing you should do following a motorcycle crash is to go to an emergency room or urgent care center near you. The provider can take the necessary MRIs, X-rays, and other studies to determine the seriousness of your injuries. You should seek this same-day medical treatment even if you are unsure whether you suffered an injury. Many injuries, including traumatic head injuries, do not manifest until days or even weeks after the accident date. If you are going to need additional medical treatment, the emergency room doctor can make a recommendation. You should also ensure that you follow through with all recommended medical treatments and refrain from significant gaps in your treatment. Otherwise, the insurance company may believe your injuries were not serious.
While you focus your attention on making a full recovery from your motorcycle accident injuries, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can begin working on your case. Your lawyer can gather your medical treatment records and wage loss statements, along with copies of the police report, eyewitness statements, and victim impact statements, and assemble them into a settlement demand package.
Once you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can begin settlement negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. However, you are the one who ultimately decides whether to accept or reject a pending settlement offer.
The MNH Injury Team Gets ResultsWe get you the results you need and provide legal advice through the whole court process. Don’t be unprepared when you could have one of the best legal teams out there to assist you. Reach out to us today to get your consultation.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Motorcycle Crash
Following a motorcycle accident, the claims-filing process begins when your lawyer submits a settlement demand package to the insurance company. In most instances, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company for the at-fault party. However, if the driver who caused your accident did not have insurance, or if they were underinsured, your lawyer might involve your own insurance company via an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
Your lawyer’s settlement demand letter will include a monetary demand for settlement. That monetary amount will depend upon the available insurance coverage that was in place at the time of your motorcycle accident. Along with a demand letter, your lawyer will send all of the essential documents that the insurance company adjuster needs to review your case, including lost wage statements, medical records, and a victim impact statement that you prepare.
The insurance company adjuster will review these documents and decide whether or not to accept fault for the motorcycle accident. If the insurance company accepts fault, your lawyer can start negotiating with the adjuster. Initial settlement offers from insurance companies are usually far less than the total value of the motorcycle accident claim. Insurance companies are looking to see if the accident victim will settle their case quickly. Insurance companies, as big businesses, are trying to save as much money as possible.
Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster several times until the adjuster increases their offer or they reach an impasse. Your lawyer can help you decide whether a particular settlement offer is worth accepting or whether you should file a lawsuit in the court system. Even if you choose to file a lawsuit, your lawyer can continue their settlement negotiations with the insurance company. In fact, a motorcycle accident claim can settle anytime before the trial ends.
Once your lawyer files a lawsuit, the court will issue a scheduling order and establish various dates and deadlines for your case. One of those deadlines will be a discovery deadline. Discovery is the process where the parties exchange documents, as well as the answers to written questions, called interrogatories.
The defense lawyer may also take your deposition where they can ask you questions about your motorcycle accident, including how it happened, the extent of your injuries and medical treatment, and the overall impact the accident had on your life. Your lawyer will fully prepare you for your discovery deposition and any other court proceedings in your case.
If your case does not reach its resolution by the end of discovery, you can take your case to a jury trial. At the trial, a jury will decide the outcome of all disputed issues, including the amount of monetary compensation to award you.
As an alternative to a jury trial, your lawyer and the at-fault party’s insurance company might agree to take your case to mediation or binding arbitration. A mediator can help facilitate additional settlement discussions, while an arbitrator decides the total damages to award you within specific pre-set parameters.
Recovering Damages for Your Injuries
The ultimate purpose of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit following a motorcycle crash is to recover compensation for your injuries. Not every motorcycle accident is the same, and different accident victims will suffer various injuries. Generally speaking, the more serious your injuries and property damage to your vehicle, the more monetary compensation you can recover. Insurance companies typically equate severe injuries and property damage with extensive pain, suffering, and inconvenience—all of which are legally compensable.
Some of the most common damages you can recover following a motorcycle crash include compensation for lost wages, loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, mental distress, pain and suffering, loss of the ability to use a body part, and loss of life enjoyment.
Following a motorcycle crash, your lawyer will do everything possible to maximize the compensation you recover in your case. Your lawyer can do this by highlighting the strengths of your motorcycle accident case while downplaying any weaknesses. Your lawyer can also aggressively negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Finally, your lawyer can help you decide whether to accept a pending settlement offer from the insurance company or litigate your case in court.
Most motorcycle accident claims settle out of court long before the trial date. However, there may be some alternatives to taking your case to a jury trial, including mediation and binding arbitration. Your lawyer can help you decide if one of those options is the right fit for your case.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
The earlier you retain a motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you, the better off your case will be. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you recover the monetary compensation you deserve to become whole again after your motorcycle accident. Contact a lawyer today to receive a consultation.